It’s hard to believe that just four months ago the Islanders were seriously interested in Matt Duchene. What was going through Snow’s mind? We don’t need a second line center! We have four amazing centers already, what do we need a fifth for? It would only take away Mat Barz–yeah you remember this dilemma quite well. That was exactly the statement you thought the team wasn’t able to make. Mat Barzal wasn’t good enough, right? Does Brock Nelson still have no place on this team? The facts are, Nelson has more goals than Duchene and Barzal has more points than him. Neither of those guys are requesting trades anytime soon.
I bet that sometime over the summer the Islanders offered Barzal to the Avalanche. He could’ve played the wing next to Tyson Jost. He could’ve even been his second line center. We offered Travis Hamonic and some picks, and Sakic turned the deal down. Good on Sakic for getting a good return in the end, but the Islanders definitely offered him something good, and now he needs to watch as the Islanders continue to succeed.
The situation actually turned out extremely well for the Islanders. The team is on the upswing and is fighting for the division lead, while the Avalanche are starting to see their early season surge dwindle away. The two teams met up on Sunday in a 6-4 Islanders win. During the first period, Matt Duchene exited the rink, and found out he had been traded to the Senators. Meanwhile, Mat Barzal, who played in what would’ve been Duchene’s spot, tied a team record by scoring five assists in the game. Having Hamonic around could have made a difference, but the Avalanche ultimately chose a different trading partner.
As long as this article isn’t the jinx of the year, the Islanders definitely made the right move by playing Barzal over anyone else. He is only 20 (6 years younger than Duchene), and has a much better contract, especially with Tavares’ contract hanging over the team. The season is only a month old, but it seems as though the Islanders are in a much better position without Duchene.